Friday, October 30, 2009

Volkswagen's Fun Theory

I learned from Andrew Sullivan's blog about Volkswagen's initiative for motivating positive change through fun innovations. They've produced a few neat inventions and invite you to submit your own ideas for the chance to win an award.

I think that by adopting digital distribution, the gaming industry has already made progress in this field even though that was not the intent. Gamers want their fun; digital distribution gives them that fun more quickly and conveniently than retail and mail-order distribution. Game publishers and distributors, in turn, spend less on packaging and shipping. The benefits extend to the environment as an afterthought, but they are there.

One of Volkswagen's inventions is, in fact, a simple arcade game. I'm trying to think of other ways that games can be used to encourage environmental stewardship.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

PSP Go Green?

The buzz on the PSP Go, Sony's new handheld gaming console, is that it's the latest of Sony's many missteps this console generation. Ars Technica finds it to be a poor value compared to the older versions of the PSP, while Destructoid struggles to find the positives.

I've never been interested enough in the PSP to buy one, but I hope that the Go succeeds. It is, to my knowledge, the first gaming system with an expanding library that does not use physical media. I would like to see all video and computer gaming systems abandon physical media in favor of the environmentally better option of digital distribution. Perhaps the PSP should have and could have done this from its first launch in 2005 rather than burden stores and users with a whole new (and eventually failed) physical medium, the Universal Media Disc.

It's unfortunate that the game acquisition process on the PSP Go is apparently cumbersome, that owners of UMD games cannot transfer the games to the Go for free, and that the Go requires its own proprietary cables (another environmental failure). But if I wanted a PSP, I'd probably get the Go. The lack of physical media appeals to me. And there does seem to be significant progress in making the PSP library available online; of the five PSP games I'd consider buying (Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness, Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions, Jeanne D'Arc, Patapon 2, and Yggdra Union), four are available on the PlayStation Store. That's not bad.

Even if the Go fails, it is notable as a gaming system that requires no cartridges or discs. I hope that Sony is able to improve its digital distribution infrastructure to make the Go more attractive to gamers. Perhaps Sony could have countered some of the criticism by proposing the Go as an environmentally safer handheld system.